ICU - Summer Readings
Recommended Website Tech Partners


In early December I was at the Google London HQ for the GTA. I'll be posting a longer report later but this is just a quick update on what I learned about Google Forms - it's now possible to embed video in the forms. So teachers can post a video to be watchef and give a survey related to the video content. Great stuff! See here for more details on the updates to Forms.


Web 2.0 Presentation @ Kanda University of International Studies

This week I did a presentation on the ways Web 2.0 tools - Google Apps mainly - can be incorporated into a university writing class syllabus. I call this approach EMP: Educational Multimedia Projects and I did a short talk on this at the TEDxTokyoTeachers event at Tokyo International School in March this year here that was well recieved. So this presentation was an expansion of that TEDx talk and showed examples of the students' work from my classes that use the EMP approach as well as covering the theories that underpin it and I ended by demonstrating a few of the tech tools. 

To start with I explained how educational technolgy had evolved over the years and paid attention to the rote memorisation that the Japanese educational system is infamous for. I contrasted this with the creativity necessary to be successful in the modern world that is missing from the Japanese school, cram school and university progression. Moving on I next gave examples of how educational technology was changing the pedagogy and content as it enabled new types of tasks and knowledge to be created and completed.

I briefly explained the SAMR model and demonstrated how this could be used to decide which ed-tech tools to incorporate into the EMP process. Then I moved on to the skills learned in the EMP process - information searching, capture, organisation, storage and sharing, and also gave a couple of examples that could be used to convince Japanese students that sharing was a good things as in their exam focused education sharing is not given great weight. Teamwork and group production of items like papers, slideshows, videos and websites were also covered.

To end the theoretical part I mentioned my idea of T.E.A.C.H. - Technology Education Academia Creativity Here and briefly explained some of the other educational technology theories I borrowed from and how I used them. These are Flipped Learning, Just in Time Teaching, and TPACK. I then moved on to the exmaples of the students'work and here I showed the Google Docs e-portfolio I use in their peer reviewed academic writing, the slideshows and screencast recorded / self narrated video versions made on Apple's Keynote or Google Presentations and uploaded to YouTube and lastly the Google Sites students made to host all the above multimedia content they produced. I ended with a demo of how easy it was to make a Google Site and embed some content. Then we had a good Q & A session.

Following the presentation Joachim Castellano, a fellow Apple Distinguished Educator, gave me a guided tour of the campus and I was very impressed. They have a new building number 7

which was visually very impressive in design and style and it's next to some nice green space ouside. Inside the buildings the campus is also applealing as it has a nice communciation space where students and teachers can chat freely and relax on the bright yellow sofa's, and of course it is all wifi friendly.


They also have a good student self access learning centre called appropriately enough the SALC. When I was there, like the yellow sofa area, it seemed to be busy. There seemed to be a lot of teachers around as well which made for a nice atmosphere.

Overall it was a nice experience presenting there as the teachers seemed attentive and interested and about 20 or so came despite it being a lunchtime during term time, and they asked good questions. KUIS is a Google Apps for Education institution and they are starting to have all students on iPads as they have a robust wifi system in place now. I want to give specials thanks to Carol Begg and Alexander Worth for arranging this presentations, and of couse to my fellow ADE Joachim Castellano for sorting out the tech side of things and for showing me around. Alex also recorded the presentation and it is on YouTube (see below).



Advanced Power Searching with Google

Today is the deadline to register for the online Advanced Power Searching with Google course and I had my students do the short pre course video challenge. After almost half an hour most of them still hadn't found any of the 3 things Google asked for so I had to give some clues, i.e. search under "Joseph Strauss engineer traffic U.S. patent" instead of the direct "Joseph Strauss traffic control device" based on the actual words the Google rep used in the video. Eventually they found the actual device was called a Yield Barrier and armed with this info they could find the patent number and sketch. However the final data was on a Google Patent Search Engine that none of the students (nor me before I took the challenge) knew existed. If we had known that we could have gone straight there and got all the info right away. So if the Advanced Power Searching with Google course covers more of these kind of tips I'll be very happy indeed. So if you want to improve your Google Searching sign up today before the deadline. 


Dropbox Alternative

I wasn't happy with Dropbox and looked for an alternative and found SpiderOak - use this link below to sign up and we both get 1GB extra space. It gives the same 2Gb free (3Gb with my link) but has a free 1GB for  every referral unlike Dropbox's 0.25Gb (0.5 if you are in education) and has a 50gb free limit unlike Dropbo's 8Gb (16Gb in education). They also have a 50% discount for the paid plan if you are in education and need more space and their base prices are better than Dropbox too.   life!




Asia Association for Global Studies Conference at ICU

On 17-18 March 2012 the Asia Association for Global Studies will have a conference at ICU in Mitaka, Tokyo. The call for papers is here so hopefully see some of you there.


NEW VLE From Pearson and Google

I see Pearson has been working with Google for their new VLE called OpenClass. It is claimed to integrate with Google Apps but is only available in the US so far. One to watch.


Education Event at house of Commons

I'm in Portcullis House at the Houses of Parliament for a debate on education policy run by Compass.

Google Groups Drops the Ball!

The new term is about to start and I'm in the process of setting up my usual class groups via the google groups service, but when I went to add members I noticed that Google have taken away the add members directly function. This is a major inconvenience for group owners / managers as it adds extra steps to making sure all students are in the group. Getting an invite in their inbox as opposed to being directly added means the less tech oriented students sometimes mess up their group joining process. Also last year Google took away some of the functionality of their groups by deleting the welcome message section's customisation ability, continued taking away more this year when they took away the ability to store files, then set up the terrible new groups interface which did not have the ability to show which groups had new unread messages. In the new groups set up, as well as being newlessly complicated, it had serious language problems. Despite having set my language as English, the new google groups on many computers here in Japan automatically changed the google group's language back to Japanese whenever I clicked on a different section of the group. Taking away the add members directly function in addition to these other mishaps makes me wonder if Google really want a groups function. Maybe this is a cunning play to get everyone to use Google+ instead of groups!


Expand Your iPhone Camera's Capabilities

If you want to increase the capabilites of your iPhone's camera this set looks good. I just hope that Apple don't change things too much on the coming iPhone 5 as it is bad enough needing a new case every time they upgrade the phone without having to change the lens attachments every time too.


Presentation Body Language

A nice little list of Do's and Don'ts for body language in presentations.